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AFP Member Spotlight: Greg Goodman, MBA

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Greg Goodman, MBA

AFP Member Spotlights are a recurring series of interviews with AFP members, highlighting the unique individuals and career paths that exist within the fundraising profession. If you know an inspiring fundraising professional who deserves to be featured, please email

In this AFP Member Spotlight, we interviewed Greg Goodman, MBA, senior regional philanthropy officer at American Red Cross - Palm Beach. He shared with us how he connects with the missions of the organizations that he has worked for by volunteering in the communities they serve.

Q: How did you start your career in the fundraising profession and what led you there?

A: Actually, I started my career soon after graduating from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University with a major in broadcasting. During my college years, I gained solid experience as a student news anchor, reporter, and producer but also worked as a PR intern for a performing arts center. Through a connection, I ended up working as a media relations and governmental affairs specialist for a national cable TV affiliate of the Providence Journal Company. It was a wonderful experience for me to work as a “youngster” in the corporate world, but the greatest benefit of those years was being encouraged to get my MBA at night through tuition reimbursement.

Upon completion of that degree, I decided to move into the nonprofit world — primarily, the health care field — and progressed into senior marketing and PR roles initially and later added fundraising to my responsibilities. Prior to joining the South Florida Region of American Red Cross, I worked for nearly 12 years for a major senior care organization where I took a greater interest in fundraising and then moved on to become a regional philanthropy officer and now senior regional philanthropy officer for American Red Cross — loving every minute of it!

Q: When and why did you decide to become an AFP member?

A: I joined AFP soon after I joined American Red Cross in late 2019. I cover the entire South Florida region, but my main chapter office is in West Palm Beach, so I chose to additionally join the Palm Beach chapter.    

Over so many years, I have been involved with, and taken on leadership positions with professional organizations within my field, such as the Public Relations Society of America, where I was president of the Southeastern New England chapter in the early 1990s, and the New England Society for Health Care Communications where I was president in the early 2000s, before moving to South Florida.

When I moved here in 2004, I could not find any health care marketing or communications professional organization, so I decided to focus my time on other volunteer work. However, once I left the marketing and PR worlds behind for fundraising exclusively, I decided to learn more about AFP and this past year, was welcomed by chapter president, Chris Snyder, and encouraged to be more involved in the Palm Beach Chapter.

Q: Are you doing anything innovative at your organization (or a past organization) that you think other fundraisers could benefit from?

A: I am not sure I can call this innovative, but I have always been committed to “getting out of the office”, so to speak, and engaging in mission moments — seeing first-hand how my organizations made a difference to those we served.  This commitment goes back to my hospital days when I would step away from my paid job, as a Jewish guy, to visit patients and take on non-clinical positions on Christmas Day to give others much needed time off on this holiday. Additionally, I would take the time to “shadow” my colleagues in other areas, again to gain a greater appreciation for their work. In later years working for senior care organizations, I would also commit to spending some quality time with elder residents in their nursing home, short-term rehabilitation, and independent and assisted living residences, and also volunteered to deliver meals and care packages to homebound community members.    

At American Red Cross, I have taken this commitment to a much higher level. A few months after joining my organization, I found myself deployed to Nashville, Tennessee after a tornado to help, not only with fundraising, but to lend a hand to our disasters services team where needed. Today, I regularly volunteer for our Sound the Alarm initiative — going into communities at greater risk of fire to install free smoke alarms and teach fire safety and prevention; teach youngsters how to cope during crises; became CPR certified and learned first aid; and respond to fires in partnership with fire departments, among other things.

Again, not necessarily innovative, but volunteering for mission work clearly makes me a better fundraiser.

Q: What is your favorite word? (only one word) How has this word influenced or inspired your career?

A: Passion. I have chosen to work for nonprofits over the years whose missions inspire me to be an advocate for vulnerable populations served. I also have a passion for other commitments in my life such as great filmmaking and in 2005, finally wrote a screenplay. I have a passion for live theatre and have acted and studied improv. I have a passion for music and have been a singer and play the guitar and piano.

Q: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: While unrelated to my job, I am very proud to note that after many years of thinking about writing a screenplay, I finally completed a script in 2004 which I promoted to many literary agencies and entered in competitions. In 2005, my script won a semi-finalist award in a screenplay competition called Barren Branches as part of the noteworthy Rhode Island International Film Festival. It has not been produced, but I still feel honored for the recognition.

Q: How has being an AFP member and participating in the AFP affinity groups benefited you in your career?

A: To me, the benefit of being active in a professional organization is the ability to network with others who do the same job. We often learn from each other and jointly bring credibility to our field.

Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the nonprofit fundraising profession today?

A: I don’t think about challenges — only opportunities. However, I would say that one of our biggest opportunities today is in reaching out to the next generation of philanthropists. We are grateful for the longtime, generous support of our older donors/partners who are now passing the torch to their children and grandchildren. However, these offspring may not have the same commitment to our organizations. Therefore, it is our job to encourage them to continue the legacy of their parents and grandparents.

Q: What advice do you have for other fundraising professionals, or people interested in getting into the field?

A: It may seem obvious, but I advise others to work for organizations whose missions are important to them given the time commitment of doing our jobs. I also advise others to research organizations well prior to accepting a position, making sure that their potential employer respects and cares for its employees as much as it respects and cares for those it serves, board leaders, and volunteers.  A great mission is one thing — but finding oneself in a less than optimal work environment makes no sense.

That’s why I am so grateful for American Red Cross. I am deeply passionate about our mission, love my colleagues and donors, and always feel respected and valued by leadership. I have never been happier in my career than I have been in my first five years at American Red Cross, and firmly intend to spend the remainder of my career with this wonderful organization.

As for other advice — understand that fundraising is not merely transactional — it is about nurturing and building relationships. I will always recall that a new donor to my portfolio told me that she disliked it when fundraisers would only call her once annually but only to ask her for a gift. I always say that if I speak to the 150+ donors in my portfolio 20 or 30 times in a year, I only ask them for a gift 2 or 3 times.   The other times, I honor them over holidays and birthdays; update them on the impact of their gifts; and just meet or call to check in.  

Finally — and I learned this in studying improv — being a better listener than talker will enable you to move so much further. Our donors appreciate that greatly.

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